The Gift Of Easter, Past And Present


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Triumph of the Cross

Easter

Easter is a day to celebrate. It is the consummation of the Calvary of Jesus. It is the fulfillment of Jesus’ redemptive mission. It is the triumph of the Cross.

While the entire Christendom celebrates Easter with all its trimmings and festivities, it marks a second Christmas for everyone. It means family dinner or Easter egg hunts for children. It means a busy kitchen for grandmas and potlucks for each member of the family.

It brings back family laughter, music and lots of food, food, food. To the privileged, it means hotel hopping for Easter to delis from different cultures. It means going to the beach and merrymaking. It also means lots of fun fares and social happenings not known during Christ’s time.

While the tenor of the feast day has evolved since 2000 years ago, the authentic message never changes for indeed, the Christ who died on the Cross-as the proof of the Father’s love for humankind never changes.

Through Different Eyes

His redemptive work was finished on the Cross. His love for us gave us the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, the Paraclete. The apostles’ work did not stop when Christ ascended to Heaven. By God’s grace, we inherited the WORD through the BIBLE.

For the less privileged or the marginalized sector of society, it means hope for a better life. The Faith teaches freedom from bondage of material wants and is a promise to look forward to with expectant hope and faith. For by His stripes, we are healed.

To the materially gifted, it is a time to be thankful and to remember being the channel of God’s graces. It is time to reflect, understanding any outpouring of blessings is a charge, a stewardship to be faithful. Work stops to give reverence to Jesus who died like a criminal, crucified because of His unconditional love for the sinful humanity.

It is a special moment to reflect, to look back, to reckon life’s misgivings and omissions. Above all, it is a special moment with God when the entire Christian world venerates Him in unison with the angles in Heaven. It is a day for inventory of life’s struggles and the grace of overcoming life challenges.

It is a gift that no man can neither neglect nor miss. It is a new beginning, for indeed in Christ we are a new creation.

Remembering My Childhood Easter

Back then, the three days before Easter, which are Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Black Saturday were holy, holy, holy. There was no meat, no radio, no laughter, less food and silence in every sense of the word. Only one sound rang through the air, the singing of the Passion of Christ Book known as Pasyon, sung in the vernacular from Holy Thursday until the whole book is finished.

Back then, I had never really read the Bible. I only knew of the story of the passion of Christ through that Filipino Book.

Fasting and abstinence ended on Friday evening. Holy Saturday, back then, was a different day. By tradition in our province, which is an hour drive south of Manila, Saturday was a day of reunion.

Saturday was a time of merry making and picnic in the river or in the scenic Taal Lake, where from a distance we can see the mountains of Tagaytay City. It meant gathering among high school friends and seeing our high school crushes. It meant girls talking with lots of unsuppressed giggling and laughter. It meant sharing our teenage secrets. It was total freedom from our nosy teachers and principal.

We used to bathe and swim in the river that flows down the lake. It was a day of fun and laughter. The boys cooked for us while we set tables from river stones and laid food on banana leaves. Picnic it was and food aplenty – chicken, pork barbecue, broiled fish from the lake and Chinese noodles, which was always present on the Filipino table on special occasions.

Did anyone remember to say thanksgiving for the picnic blessings? I do not recall anyone saying it. My mother and grandmother cautioned me a hundred times before going not to swim a mile farther from the shore. I always remember the precautions although in the midst of the group. My mother used to bless and put a sign of the cross on our foreheads before we would leave. What a killjoy was my silent reaction to all the so-called pre-departure ceremonies.

My father would always mention unfortunate events he happened to pass by as excuses to make us stay home. That was okay for me although friends would say they were over protective. Never mind was my usual answer. It was to our advantage. Boys were extra careful in their treatment of us. These reunions have run for years even if most of us have families of our own.

There was no excuse for not going to church to partake of Easter mass. Regarded as a second Christmas, our parents encouraged us, taught us to remember it as a day to celebrate Jesus’ coming back to life after crucifixion.

Rice cakes from glutinous rice (bibingka) and suman (glutinous rice with coconut milk and sugar wrapped in banana leaves) and fusion of Spanish-Filipino recipes graced Filipino tables. We are a race of excellent cooks and fine palate.

Men celebrated by going to cockfighting arenas. In some occasions, there would be a barn dance sponsored by the adult singles. Reunions and homecoming parties among relatives who live from far places is the finale of the long vacation. It is reliving the true Filipino values of unity and closeness. Being closely knit is a Filipino value of which we are proud. We are a very family-oriented race. We have so much love for each other.

Today

Today, it is more modern with even the far away barrios (countryside) being gifted with sophisticated amenities .With the grace of God; we now belong to fast developing countries in terms of infrastructure and communication.

In spite of modernization, Filipino delicacies are still there. Home recipes are one among many reasons to come home. None compares to an authentic and distinct Filipino taste.

It is also time to remember family members who have gone to their true home with the Father.

These are among the fondest memories I look back on with nostalgia. My humble beginnings will always be part of my being. I thank God for all my blessings and I pray blessings for my childhood friends who need more.

My Prayer:

A big thanks to You my Big God of all possible things in life. From my humble beginnings, You gave me blessings my heart can always be thankful for. I thank you for my parents who gave me the best education and good upbringing. I thank you for giving me grace to look back and remember where my roots are.

For the blessings and more good things in life to come, I thank You.

I believe the big moment of harvest is at hand. Yes, right at our doorstep. Thank you and my covenant with You stays unchanged. I live for OTHERS.

Tess Martinez Copyright 2007

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About the Author

Brenda

Brenda Craig is a published author, prophetic teacher and Seer whose desire is to know the Lord in all His fullness. Her writings and teachings reflect a deep intimacy with the Lord. As a worshiper, Brenda has received revelation on how to take the simple act of ‚ÄúSoaking in His Presence‚ÄĚ to a new level and developed a teaching called Soaking with a Purpose.

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